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Filipino Communities In Jacksonville Florida

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By Author: Winnie Melda
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The Filipino American community is the second Asian American group in America with a population of over 3.4 million people according to the 2010 census results. The largest population of Filipinos is found in Jacksonville, Florida with the 201 census statistics indicating that there are over 120000 Filipino Americans in Florida. The first Filipino to arrive in Florida came in 1910, later by 1920; the population of Filipinos in Florida had increased to 11 before increasing further to 46 by 1930. The rise has been gradual and ever increasing due to the historical navy ties with the Philippines. A majority of the Filipinos in Jacksonville served or had connections with the United Navy which has two bases in Jacksonville. The famous Bataan is one of the numerous collaborations where the Philippines and the Untied States collaborated against the Japanese although they lost (Ling, & Austin, 2015). The Filipinos that worked with the United States Navy came with their families and settled them at Jacksonville with most opting not to return to the Philippines even after retirement or end of their contract with their Navy. It is common to find Filipinos veterans that participated in World War II and battles such as the Bataan Battle residing in Jacksonville, Florida.
Other Filipino residents arrived in the United States in search for academic and job opportunities. The United States is perceived as the land of many opportunities thus the high number of immigrants that arrive at its borders. Some Filipinos at Jacksonville arrived seeking academic training. Filipinos that wanted to train in technical fields such as medicine and nursing preferred to study in the United States. The students thus moved alone or with his or her entire family and settled in America. For most Filipinos, the preference for Jacksonville other than other states was driven by the almost tropical weather conditions that were similar to the weather in the Philippines.
Upholding the Filipino Culture
The Filipinos in Jacksonville have a high sense of unity as they work together to preserve their culture and practices. The Filipinos have formed Filipino organizations that aim to preserve their culture and transfer it to their children and future generations. The struggle to maintain the Filipino culture is really difficult in an environment that is highly Americanized. Most teenagers and young adults find themselves struggling with the battle of staying Filipino and upholding their culture and becoming American. 13% of Filipinos in the United States were not born in America while 10% of Jacksonville’s residents were born in another country.
The Filipino community thus does not only have to grapple with the American culture but also with the potential influence of other cultures found in Jacksonville. However, the Filipino community in Jacksonville has been working hard to ensure that they uphold and maintain their culture. The community holds events such as the Filipino Pride Day (FPD) where the Filipino community comes together to appreciate their culture. The event is graced with traditional Filipino performance, dance and acts (Pantaz, 2016). FPD is also a day where the Filipino get to demonstrate their culinary skills by demonstrating various Filipino dishes. The day also sees members of the Filipino community enjoy free health services that include free wellness checkup and treatment of minor illnesses.
Filipinos and Health in the Jacksonville Society
Filipino’s make up 35% of Jacksonville’s Asia community, and their highest concentration is at Duval County. There is no singular Filipino voice in Jacksonville thus the need to unify through Filipino –American organizations. For instance, Jacksonville has a significant number of nurses who are Filipinos. A majority of the immigrants from the
Philippines came as nursing students or as nurses where they secured jobs in various health facilities in the region. The shift of nurses from the Philippines to America is associated mainly with the continuous nurse shortage in America. The Filipino nurses arrived in Jacksonville to assist in filling the gap. The Filipinos thus play a significant role in enhancing healthcare delivery in Jacksonville. Although the Filipinos make significant contributions to service delivery of modern health, they still hold onto their traditional beliefs of health such as the principle of balance. Filipinos, especially the elderly still hold onto the belief that illnesses occur when the body experiences some imbalance thus leading to a loss of equilibrium (Mohl, & Saeki, 2016). Health promotion strategies such as flushing, heating, and protection of the body can be adoption to ensure there is a balance. In case the need for conventional treatment is critical, most Filipinos prefer to consult with a health professional in their families before making any further consultations.
Cultural assimilation is a sociological phenomenon where another culture comes close to resembling another culture from another group. The Filipinos at Jacksonville are working hard to ensure that they uphold their culture amid the increasing risk of assimilation. The Filipino children are at most risk of assimilation as they interact with other cultures while in school. Most Filipino parents wish that their children can adopt the American culture without abandoning their Filipino heritage. Unfortunately, assimilation is almost impossible when the children spent most of their times interacting with the American culture. Assimilation is not all but, though if the Filipino children can retain their culture but still learn and integrate the American culture to their lives. The knowledge of two cultures would enable any person to blend across the two cultures with ease (Cherry, 2014). However, the Filipino children at Jacksonville are more inclined to the American culture which differs from the Filipino culture. For instance, the American culture advocates for independence and aggression for survival, factors that are not found in the Filipino culture. Most Filipino parents in Jacksonville appreciate that the American culture has enabled their children to adapt well to the American lifestyle and environment. The American culture has made their children competitive and aggressive in life thus able to fit in the fast-paced American lifestyle with ease.
Family Links
Filipinos have strong family ties that go beyond the nuclear family. The families relate with the parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. The original Filipino family is, therefore, large and united. Unfortunately, the Filipino immigrants at Jacksonville are struggling with the problem of retaining strong family ties. While in the Philippines an individual could get married but he would still live with his or her parents. However, the American life is different as living alone is perceived as a sign of independence. There are concerns that the Filipinos have integrated too much into the American lifestyle. An ideal example is that Jacksonville despite it having the largest number of Filipinos, it lacks Filipino restaurants. It appears as though the Filipinos have gotten comfortable with the Americanized life.
Similarly, most Filipinos in Jacksonville are comfortable speaking English rather than their native language. However, the problem of language can be traced back to the Philippines since the government recognizes English as the official language. When a Filipino arrives as an immigrant, he or she blends with ease since he or she understands and expresses himself in English, with ease. Subsequently, Filipinos born in America identify more as Americans than Filipinos. It can be argued that there are very few Filipino businesses and restaurants because most immigrants have mainstream professions such as teaching and medicine. However, the lack of Filipino businesses has an advantage in that it encourages family and community unity (Bonus, 2000). For instance, during community functions, every Filipino gets to learn who makes what dish best thus establishing a larger network of the broad Filipino family in Jacksonville.
Irrespective of the challenge of assimilation and the potential risk of losing the Filipino culture, Filipino immigrants in Jacksonville remain dominant and pronounced in the community. The Filipinos in Jacksonville have an easier life than most immigrants because most of them come with high-skilled worker visa. The skills enable them to join white-collar jobs and thus able to sustain their families with ease. The Filipino community also upholds social unity, and through its organizations, they can assist new immigrants in settling in America. There is a need for intensive efforts to help the young generation and Filipino children born in America to uphold the Filipino culture.

Bonus, R. (2000). Locating Filipinos Americans. Temple University Press

Cherry, S. (2014). Faith, family and Filipino American community life. Rutgers University Press

Ling, H. & Austin, A. (2015). Asian American history and culture. Routledge Publishers

Mohl, R. & Saeki, C. (2016). Far East, Down South. University of Alabama Press

Pantaz, A. (2016). Filipinos are Jacksonville largest immigrant group. The Florida Times Union

Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at Melda Research in research paper company if you need a similar paper you can place your order for a custom research paper from nursing papers for sale.

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